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The Paradigm Shift is in Our Midst – what is a paradigm?

April 12, 2014

A paradigm is a certain understanding of reality. It is a school of thought or framework which forms a world view – a shared way of perceiving aspects of reality. For example, there can be economic paradigms, scientific paradigms and philosophical paradigms. A paradigm is formed when there is general consensus that the worldview is good enough for the collective to gather around and so progress from. Hence the paradigm becomes more than an agreed theory of understanding but a societal worldview that underpins collective beliefs in how life is attended to.

‘A paradigm is a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality.’ Fritjof Capra

‘[A paradigm] is like a superstructure of ideas, a scaffolding upon which we hand our understanding, our ‘knowledge’ of reality.’ Christian de Quincey

 

Philosophical, theological, artistic and scientific explorations into reality contribute to the formation of paradigms when they engender value-sets and ideas which become embodied by the collective. The comfort provided by the sense of knowingness tends to stifle the creative exploration it ought to spawn. Rather than nourish fresh shoots of exploration that healthily challenge and so evolve the paradigm’s inherent inadequacy, cultural embodiment can bring dogmatic entrenchment that creates an environment of inertia where those that challenge the dogma face transgressing the cohesive cultural conditioning of the collective belief-system.  The prevalence of the paradigm begins to sow the seeds of its own demise by fostering collective resistance to anything other than incremental adaptation to its embodied sense of reality.

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Any fixed worldview invariably proves to be a partial, cut-down view of reality based on incomplete assumptions. This is because reality in its raw, infinite, creative-destructiveness is beyond being tamed, tied-down or fixed within definable limits. It is vital to recognise the built-in limitations of paradigms and not to become overly confident in them to the point where they are accepted, without question, as complete truth. For that is when they become socially embedded as paradoxical belief systems inconsistent with actual experience and natural sense. This is where the danger lies, in the unquestioned knowing paradigms can engender. Pre-definition becomes belief – literally, pre-judice. Partial truths become accepted as whole truth.

Our prevailing paradigm – since the Era of Enlightenment – is hallmarked by ‘Rationalism’. Rationalism is the view that reality is best understood through abstract mathematical propositions supported by rational logic and reductive scientific positivism which atomises one thing as separate and completely definable from another. This creed is alluring not least due to the sense of certainty of knowing it breeds in an uncertain world. Yet, as well as this atomised way of attending corrupting sociality, it exacerbates an anthropocentric hubris. Enter the dog-eat-dog competition and selfish gene thinking of Neo-Darwinism, colonialism and neoliberalism. In the Enlightenment’s noble quest for truth we have inadvertently cloaked our perception of reality.  As I have explored in the book The Nature of Business, we are increasingly asking what an overly mechanistic and reductive paradigm obscures from view and how it conditions our knowledge. MDG : Green Economy and Forests REDD : hills of  burnt out brown and deforested land in Thailand

In the 1980s, M.L. Handa introduced the idea of the social paradigm and he explored how social paradigm shifts cause significant transformations in the way societies are organised. He also explored how the inertia of social and educational institutions can cause ‘paradigm paralysis’ in blocking radical thinking that challenges the status quo. We find in our universities, political establishments and research institutes that funding is greatly skewed towards research and ‘innovative’ thinking that incrementally adapts the current paradigm rather than radically transforming it.

‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’ George Bernard Shaw

Deep and complex influences within our own psyche, our collective consciousness and in the structures pervading our culture today are being challenged to radically reshape; at its heart the paradigm shift challenges the very way we view the world and ourselves as a part of it. Paradigm shifts are difficult moments due to the increased level of creative destruction, yet paradoxically they can be profoundly liberating as the breakdown leads to breakthrough, the release from old ways allowing for a reconfiguration into new and more beneficial ways of operating. We may begin to move beyond the confined box of orthodoxy, awakening from our ‘business-as-usual’ slumber.nature vandal

View a presentation on ‘A Radical Review of Reality’ here

‘A radical inner transformation and rise to a new level of consciousness might be the only real hope we have in the current global crisis brought on by the dominance of the Western mechanistic paradigm.’ Stanislav Grof

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Behind the Mountain – An enchanting story for young and old combining wisdom and myth

April 10, 2014

After reading untold heavy-weight non-fiction books while researching for my next book ‘The Illusion of Separation – Exploring the Cause of our Current Crises’ (being published October this year), it was a refreshing delight to read the e-book Behind the Mountain.

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Behind the Mountain is a fiction book for the young and old alike. It is a thrilling adventure story which unfolds with a refreshingly light narrative and yet with a depth of intrigue and enchanting wisdom. It is the second book in the e-book series of The Seven Songs by C J Moore. The first book is King Abba, where a Utopian high-tech order collapses, fatally flawed, unable to sustain its own technically brilliant but pointless wizardry. At the end of this volume, the King disappears, leaving all in chaos, some wise souls assuring that this is precisely what he wants. Now, it seems, as we embark on Behind the Mountain, we must all pass through the edge of chaos and ride the wave of transition. Different groups will make their own paths through this chaotic change and seek out new forms of stability.

As a story, Behind the Mountain has an air of the ancient about it, the fairy-tale of times yonder, yet also an air of what may lie ahead of us after cataclysmic events unfold and current structures breakdown. Above all, it is a story of personal adventure, courage, leadership and self-realisation in a volatile world.

The two main characters are Fion the Prince….

‘What now? He couldn’t live in the past. He knew that. He had gone up the mountain to find clarity, to see the whole picture from above, to catch a glimpse of the palace where his life had begun and where he must eventually return. Now he was ashamed to realise he had been so foolish, a folly from which the mysterious voice had saved him, but it had not stayed to tell him what next. If only he knew how to find Adhemar, the one person who seemed to see past, present and future all together. What was it that Adhemar had told him? That his greatest enemy was himself. How true that had turned out to be.’

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And his sister Dream the Princess….

‘Was I asleep?’ she asked.

His eyes were full of warmth and care as he replied, ‘You’ve been asleep for hours. You must be so tired with everything that’s been happening, so many new things, new people. I’m sorry if it’s all been too much.’

She turned on her back and smiled up at him.

‘It’s been wonderful,’ she explained. ‘Everyone has been so kind.’

‘They love you, for what you have done.’

She shook her head a little as she tried to take it all in. ‘I just followed my heart,’ she laughed quietly. ‘That wasn’t hard, was it? And they say I’ve done something amazing. I think that’s quite funny.’

The story both lifts the reader up and away into another world – with a concoction of enchantment, adventure, fear and love – while pulling the reader inward into deeper reflection provoked by the trials and tribulations of personal transformation in the midst of cultural upheaval. For instance, how darkness, fear and confusion can feed yet more fear; how the seemingly opposing tensions of faith and reason, masculine and feminine, rationality and intuition yield a deeper realisation of reality; and how different ways of attending to life affect how we perceive and relate with ourselves, each other and Nature. This is an important book for the times we live in and has been written in a style that makes it readable for young and old, and when my children are a little older I look forward to reading it to them.

For £3, Behind the Mountain can be purchased here as a kindle version on Amazon. You can find another review of Behind the Mountain here and a brief overview of King Abba and Behind the Mountain by the story teller himself, Christopher Moore, here.

Inspired by and in harmony with Nature – what does that entail for us humans?

April 1, 2014

Nature is not simply ‘out there’ but also deep within us, flowing through our hearts and minds. For thousands upon thousands of years we humans have lived with a deep empathic interrelation embodied within Nature. Only in a relatively recent part of our Western history did we weaken our profound relation of our inner psyche and outer Nature.

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What is Nature?  One hesitates to define anything so all-pervasive and undefinable with abstract words.  Perhaps one could venture by saying that Nature is an omnipresence flowing through all of creation – an ‘all-pervasiveness’, perhaps much like what Eastern mysticism has called Akasha or Tao. As we attune with Nature, we attune with our own unconscious in allowing it to become conscious.  It is what Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer, at MIT and The Presencing Institute, call ’presencing’ and what many great phenomenologists like Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty have explored in detail in their work. Within this presencing of the present moment, we allow a rarefying of our ego-boundaries along with an empathic resonance to occur within this all-pervasive presence of Nature. In other words, we  harmonise with Nature if only for a brief moment.  This presencing is the same as what happens when athletes, artists or musicians – and us normal folk – sense being ‘in the zone’. Here we open up our inner true-nature with the all-pervasive Nature in our midst.

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So often in today’s busy, rationalised, atomised, abstract world we obscure this Nature, cloaking our own true nature in restricting the semi-permeability of our ego-self with deeper Nature, this can lead to fragmentation which create illusions of separation and scarcity which may then exacerbate into delusional projections.

From a place of presencing, we open up the innate capability we each have to heal ourselves, and also engage in right relation in all with do. This is true sustainability inspired by and in harmony with Nature. It is a wise goal for any new paradigm beyond our ego-anxiety fuelled state of cultural affairs we find ourselves in today. Emancipating ourselves from our own self-imposed (and, admittedly, culturally conditioned) imprisonment of mental delusion and distraction from the present moment is primary for any sustainable future, otherwise we run the very real risk of contaminating any well-founded sustainability initiatives with the same thinking that caused the unsustainability in the first place – namely excessive egotism, rationalism, anthropocentrism and materialism, logic that spawns from being out of tune with Nature. Our discriminating minds are so often too frantic in their analysis of the fragments to see beyond the illusion of their own making.  In becoming conscious of the unconscious presence we re-member the wave is part of the ocean; that life beyond the entanglement of rationalistic projections brings us into the heart of our becoming.Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil

Ecology of exclusion -> Ecology of inclusion

Ecology of separation -> Ecology of emancipation

We do not need to impose another ideology or set of beliefs onto reality.  Instead, we need to hold space for opening and heightening our attention individually and collectively – this way we can allow the truth to co-creatively emerge free from dogma.  Nature within and all around us is the participating aliveness of this co-creativity – we as expressions of Nature attune as unique musical vibrations adding to the orchestral tapestry of Gaia.  There is no better time than the situation we find ourselves in for us to open our hearts and minds to Nature – this is the real beginning of any truly sustainable new paradigm: inspired by and in harmony with Nature.

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The power of love for sustainable business and beyond

March 20, 2014

It is now self-evident for many influential people across a number of disciplines – business, politics, education, science, philosophy – that our current prevailing logic, with its dog-eat-dog competition, separation and fear, is exacerbating the very problems it is seeking to solve. The time is now ripe to transform, not just our ways of operating but our ways of thinking and being, of attending to life as Homo sapiens (wise beings).

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In a previous article I took part in an interview about the role of love in business.  Here I expand on that theme by digging deeper into the power of love and the logic of the heart in exploring Rudolf Steiner’s Vision of Love and how this may relate to today’s transformational times.

Steiner is one of the great modern philosophers who set about trying to synthesise science and spirituality, developing the spiritual science of Anthroposophy. His concepts have been applied to great effect in education, agriculture and medicine, as well as in the practicalities of living with love. For Steiner, the discipline of living with love is attained through the direct perception of the heart, where our soul is found, the aperture to our authentic being within Spirit.

Bernard Nesfield-Cookson is the author of the book Rudolf Steiner’s Vision of Love which lucidly explores Steiner’s spiritual science. For instance, Nesfield-Cookson notes that Steiner warns against intellectual speculations which can divert us from the path of living with love. Steiner points to artistic introspective quiet contemplation as the best preliminary condition for this path. When in this state of contemplative presence, we may feel love emanating from the soul found within the heart. It is this Love that then permeates our entirety, enlightening our ego for right thought and deed.  And so it is through opening our heart that we allow for a transition from the logic of head-thinking to heart-thinking.  This shift is fundamental to ensuring our thinking is unpolluted by yesterday’s logic, as it is only through the logic of the heart that our thoughts and deeds flow rightly. From here, each interrelation we embrace throughout the day is powered by Love allowing for us to love everything we do: our ‘being’ and ‘doing’ are infused with love.

This is a great challenge, especially within today’s busy humdrum of mass distraction, anxiety and egoistic posturing. It requires great courage not to succumb to the corrupting allures of the prevalent paradigm.love

This power of love nourishes feelings of veneration, reverence, wonder and acceptance enabling us to empathically resonate with our human and non-human kinship.  This is the foundation of ‘true sustainability’.  It is also ‘radical sustainability’ because to goes to the root of the problem by addressing our carcinogenic way of life.  From this foundation an attitude of criticism and condemnation transforms into one of nurturing and encouraging. Compassion can be understood as the active principle which fuels our empathic resonance through love, in-so-doing nourishing and nurturing others.  Compassion is the living power of love.

This wisdom of the heart is ancient. For instance, all ancient shamanic cultures are rooted in a deep heartfelt understanding that shows humility and respect for all relations.  It is a wise way of attuning with Nature’s rhythms, learning to become wise through our empathic interactions.

There are a great variety of ways to develop contemplative presence in our lives from which this power of love spawns. For example, sitting quieting, feeling the space between our heart-beats, feeling the in and out breath in our nostrils, meditating, chanting, drawing, playing music, writing poetry, practicing yoga and T’ai Chi. For me, I like immersing myself in the natural world, finding stillness within the movements of Nature, along with some gentle T’ai Chi and yoga movements. Feeling the creative energy within my bodymind helps me re-member that I am – like all aspects of Nature- energy, and the conscious co-creator of my feelings, emotions, ways of interacting from which polluting or loving interrelations flow. It is a daily struggle yet can also be a joy.progressionAutumn

Allowing the power of love into the moments of each day is of primary importance in our transformation to a sustainable future. It is the logic of the heart that ensures any new paradigm goes beyond yesterday’s logic of dog-eat-dog competition, separation and fear. Now, more than ever, we need to re-member the profound logic of the heart.

Giles Hutchins is author of The Nature of Business (Green Books) and the upcoming book The Illusion of Separation (Floris Books) which is due out this Autumn.  For a short video clip on love within business see here.

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Love within Business – sowing the seeds of the new paradigm

March 5, 2014

An interview with Giles Hutchins on Love conducted by Anne Michelsen of Green Ink Copywriting   I hope you enjoy :- )

A while back I stumbled across a video on YouTube that struck me as very provocative and very, very important. The video was entitled The Future of Business, and in it the man on the screen mentioned the importance in business of – of all things – love.

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When most of us think about business, love is just about the last thing that comes to mind. However, this man was talking about love as something very primary in the shift to a sustainable future, which includes the way we do business.

“This man” was Giles Hutchins, a business change agent who has worked in business for nearly 20 years, formally as management consultant for KPMG and then as global director of sustainability for Atos International. Giles specializes in taking inspiration from nature and applying it to sustainable business transformation. By that he means not just trading conventional technologies for ones that are less destructive, but a true transformation to a new paradigm, one that is inspired by and in harmony with nature.

Giles is also the author of The Nature of Business: Redesign for Resilience, an excellent book which explores how the increasingly unpredictable, interconnected and uncertain nature of business in modern society calls for a more emergent, dynamic approach to organizations and leadership.

Giles was kind enough to agree to speak with me via Skype earlier this month to further explain the importance of love in business.

(You can listen to the full interview here: Interview with Giles Hutchins on love in business)

Giles maintains that the biggest problems we face as a society today cannot be solved through technology alone, because they are not a product of technology.  Rather, he attributes the root cause of our environmental crisis to an “inherent anti-life approach,” which, he says, stems from an illusion of separation.

“We tend to see ourselves as separate from each other and from the world around us. And the way in which we manage our businesses today… is very much rooted in this sense of separation of self from nature.

Snakes and Vultures watercolor painting in progress

“(But) if we look at how reality really works, how nature operates, how organisms live, how each of us thrive and survive in the world, we actually realize that nothing, absolutely nothing is completely separate from anything else.

“And so it’s important, I think, to come with that (more natural kind of) thinking if we’re then going to start dealing with some of these profound challenges that we face today, otherwise we add to the illusion of separation which causes further downstream ramifications… We need to get to the root cause of the challenges that are now facing us…

“Love as deep attunement of our ego self, with our true self; of our conscious mind, with our unconscious imaginal presence; of our soul with the World Soul; of our rational mind with intuitive heart. Love is awakening to the divine presence flowing through every action, every moment, every relationship, every interaction that we undertake.

“So it’s a foundation, an all-pervasive presence flowing through everything, which is fundamental for us to tune into. We’ve lost that deeper sense of Love; re-embodying and re-member that Love helps us see beyond the illusion of separation.”

Illustration: Hands with glowing heart

While love is an abstract concept, its effect is real and very tangible. However, it’s not something that can be mandated into a company’s DNA. Rather, it flows out from individuals within an organization.

“There are many organizations that perhaps people wouldn’t think of (being based on love), which have people in them that are inspired by love, and perhaps those people may only be inspired by love for just 10 or 15 minutes of their day…

“…there are examples of organizations that have a purpose-driven, value-based organization…but I think it’s important to realize that we all are individuals working in organizations and perhaps through our lives we sometimes have moments when we are “in love,” when we’re flowing, we’re deeply attuned, focused on the activity, loving the activity that we’re doing, and therefore what we’re doing is laced with love. (That is what I mean by being) in love, that we are deeply resonating with what we’re doing.

“For instance I could talk to people in a call center and you know, many of them may be disenchanted with what they’re doing, just doing it purely to meet the bills and to pay off debts, yet you can come across someone who clearly is motivated and enjoying what they’re doing, and have a conversation which is quite different – a love-based sharing – and in that moment inspired by love.

“Everything has interrelationships, and our environment clearly has a massive impact of how we are and how we feel.

“And so if you have a culture that’s very much ‘anti-life’ (highly competitive and carcinogenic) that rubs off on us, it’s very difficult for us to then be inspired by love.

“Yet we create an environment through our own interactions which then contributes to a wider environment which might then inspire team members, which may then go on to inspire other teams in the organization, which then either helps that business unit or the wider culture. That’s a bottom-up approach.

“Vice versa you can have a top-down approach where you have purpose-driven leaders creating space for an environment based on love, recognizing that people are more motivated and more creative if they’re actually coming from love; recognizing the importance of that for organizations in these challenging times.

“And of course it’s a mixture of both. It’s neither top-down nor bottom. Both of those are kind of old ways of looking at things.  We affect the change through the actions and interactions that we do. There are catalysts like leadership and creating a culture that help foster a loving environment.

“Having worked at different levels in organizations and consulted for a variety of different people from people on the shop floor right through to global CEOs, (I’d say that) it often seems everybody has the same challenges and barriers to love.

“Take someone on the shop floor who’s saying, ‘Well yes, but what can I do to change the organization? Well it’s not first-and-foremost about ‘changing the organization’ or ‘the world’, but rather changing what you are doing and how you are being. That person has similar challenges, barriers and fears as a global CEO would have in that regard. And of course both of them have just the same amount of opportunity if they choose. So part of it is an attitude. It’s a way of attending our attention, and our quality of awareness is all part of that.”windmill 3

As it turns out, some of the world’s largest corporations – including Apple, Yahoo, General Mills, and IBM – are catching on to the benefits of Incorporating mindfulness and other love-centered practices into the workplace.

For example, Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” employee training was described by one participant as “organizational WD-40, a necessary lubricant between driven, ambitious employees and Google’s demanding corporate culture,” who added that “helping employees handle stress and defuse emotion helps everyone work more effectively.”

This and similar voluntary programs have been widely reported to improve focus and productivity, increase employee satisfaction, improve communication, and reduce stress in the workplace.

I asked Giles what he would recommend to enable the switch to a more love-centered business or even to enable one’s employees or coworkers. He replied:

“(A lot of organizations are trying) to bring in a greater clarity of awareness and sense of purpose into their organization, which helps people slow down and…sense with how they’re acting and interacting.

“And so it’s a sense of presence, whether that is having 10 minutes of silence at the beginning and end of every day, or encouraging people in work-breaks to engage in contemplative practices such as meditation or having meetings walking in the park, or doing some stretches or yoga. Things like that, which help align the mind, body and soul in the workplace which is essentially healthy for the business.

“Some of that is at a personal level, encouraging people to be aware of certain things. And by the way this isn’t in any way a kind of propaganda or mainstream sort of education put on people. It’s very much there as an invitation and general awareness for people to take or leave as they wish. Everybody is on their own journey and a part of this is recognizing that.

“And at perhaps a more systemic level in the organization is recognizing what kind of leaders that you want in your business. How do you emulate success in the organization? What type of people do you want leading other people? And I think this is about walking your talk. And so leaders who are actually leading from the heart, who are leading with love, are the ones that are going to help emulate a culture like that in the organization.”

Listen to the full interview with Giles Hutchins here.

To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here

View a short video clip on business inspired by nature here

Top Ten Tips For Transformation

February 26, 2014

The Transformation to the firm of the future requires DEDICATIONovercome change

 

D for Diversity:

Diversity is a necessary condition for business to thrive in volatile times:  where economies of scale are balanced by economies of scope; where globalisation interweaves with localisation; where embracing individuality goes hand-in-hand with maintaining the integrity of the team, organisation and wider business ecosystem.  Differences are not normalised away but celebrated for what they can contribute to a redesigning for resilience. Shift from mono-cultural, singular, mass-orientated approaches to encouraging and incorporating diversity across the business.

E for Emergence:

The ‘new norm’ of turbulence in business requires a shift in conventional management thinking from over-reliance on top-down, hierarchical, risk-based approaches to managing within complexity.  Managing within complexity juggles and combines varying styles and techniques. It encourages bottom-up emergence to flourish; establishing an all-pervasive values-led work ethic while guiding and coaching.  Emergence has a self-generating quality, where individual parts of an ecosystem interact to provide an emergent order (an unfolding of events that are self-fuelled by the actions and interactions of the parts).

D for Decentralised:

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As our linear, hierarchical, reductionist approach to business shifts to more networked, emergent ways of engaging and empowering ourselves and organisations, we find the centralised, stove-pipe, top-down approaches to organisational governance and process design give way to more decentralised, semi-autonomous, interconnected, locally-attuned ways of governing and behaving: less bureaucracy more empowerment.

I for Innovation:

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Increased market volatility brings with it the need to create, develop and adapt new products and services under time-pressured conditions. In short, innovation is a critical success factor for the future – organisations able to innovate effectively, time and again shall win out over organisations that struggle to adapt. The firm of the future creates the conditions conducive for creativity by building a culture that facilitates, unlocks and supports people’s creative potential; an organisation that encourages people to overcome fears and inhibitions, where the work dynamic is of constant evolution, where failure is not criticised but embraced for what it is – an opportunity to learn, adapt and evolve.

C for Collaboration:

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We are witnessing a shift in mentality and behaviour from the past approach of “dog eat dog” competition between businesses, business units, and employees to the future approach of collaboration across multi-functional teams, departments, organisations and business ecosystems: interconnectedness rather than separateness, collaboration rather than competition. Collaboration encourages the transcending of traditional boundaries and artificial separations in business; it interconnects to encourage sharing, co-creativity, a sense of belonging and an increased willingness to embrace change.

A for Authenticity:

Effective personal and organisational transformation is about being authentic, and true to your values and value; the authentic self and the authentic organisation go hand in hand. Those that learn to follow their true path shall be able to adapt and transform themselves and so the organisations and communities within which they operate. Those that remain incomplete and false (not rising to their true nature) will find it increas­ingly difficult to get away with benefiting themselves at the expense of others. Re-connecting with our authentic human nature and the natural world around us is one of the most joyous and yet pivotal actions we can undertake on our individual and collective journey towards sustainable living, working, doing and being.

T for Trust:

Being able to trust the people, organisational culture and stakeholder community you operate in becomes an important ingredient for success. The transformation towards a firm of the future requires embracing new ways beyond existing comfort zones while working with others in collaborative and emergent approaches.  Courage and co-creation need trust to thrive.

I for Intuition:

Alex nature of mind

The rational mind struggles to cope with the increasing complexity and volatility we find in business often leading to increased stress and reduced performance, but intuition can cope quite effortlessly. Re-connecting with our intuition by creating silence and space for our minds to re-balance both left and right brain hemispheres is fundamental for realising transformational change (in business and beyond). An important part of re-connecting is the need for reflection to continually deepen our intuition, and then using intuition to act with intention (taking responsibility for our choices and actions as well as those of our organisations).

O for Openness:

The more we open up to our environment, the more we tune in to the interconnected nature of business life, sensing and responding in the most optimal way.  Likewise, the more we recognise the need for openness in our approaches to ways of operating the more we can positively adapt; shifting from closed-source to open-source approaches, for instance. Sharing knowledge freely is often contrary to our prevalent business mind-set; allowing oneself and organisation to be more open to sharing freely is an important part of the transformational journey.

N for Nature:

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A firm of the future is a business inspired by nature. Nature is a deep source of inspiration.  Connecting with nature can bring benefits of improved creativity, serenity, centeredness and well-being. Operating in harmony with nature is what true sustainable business is all about – not just seeking to ‘do less bad’ but creating the conditions conducive for life through holistic business value – this is good business sense. The transformational journey is about being inspired by nature, being connected to nature and being in harmony with nature, then by its very nature the organisation and leader has achieved a redesigning for resilience.

To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here

View a short video clip on business inspired by nature here

View a presentation on ‘A Radical Review of Reality’ here

 

Nature’s Wisdom: Reciprocation

February 13, 2014

There are proportions and patterns running throughout our world and cosmos.  It is as if there is a grammar of harmony running through all of life which we would do well to become conscious of.

As HRH The Prince of Wales notes in his book Harmony, ‘The closer we dance to the rhythms and patterns that lie within us, the closer we get to acting in what is the right way.’

spiral dynamics4The Golden Section (also referred to as the Golden Ratio) is one such reciprocal relationship we find throughout Nature.  The Golden Section is where the smaller part stands in the same proportion to the large part as the large part stands to the whole.   The reciprocity of this relationship is found in music, architecture, flowers, our bones, credit card design, you name it. Where it exists, it provides something naturally pleasing to the human senses – a harmony.  The harmonics in music derive from this same reciprocal relationship.  This is also where the Fibonacci Series originates and the Golden Mean, Phi.  It frequents organic growth, as if the emergence within life itself follows this harmony.

What is sometimes overlooked in seeing these harmonious patterns is that there is a communion of complementary but differing rhythms within these proportions and patterns; for example, the relationship between the major and minor scales in music, the relationship of the sun and moon, yin and yang, etc.  This communion of differing relationships is vital to life – an opposing yet synergistic energy that drives organic growth.  This is what Gyorgy Doczi in his book The Power of Limits refers to as Dinergy (his own word created by combining the Greek dia- meaning across, through, opposing and energy) rather than Synergy, as it is the attuning of differing tensions which create this Dinergy. interconnected nature

This goes directly to the root of one of life’s perplexing paradoxes exploring why we have a yin and a yang duality in life.  The creative tension between these seemingly opposing forces is what drives organic growth and breathes life.

The word harmony has its root in the Latin ‘harmonia’ meaning ‘to fit together’.  Diverse influences integrate in a way that creates the harmonious ‘music of life’ – a pleasant attuning of differences. The attuning rhythm or blend these harmonising tensions provide triggers the experience of beauty within us. Doczi insightfully recognises that it is the limits within Nature, the perceived boundaries or thresholds, which allows for these proportions and combinations to create. As Hunter Lovins put it, ‘Nature uses limits as the crucible within which it creates’. It is what Doczi calls the ‘power of limits’ – the force behind creation. In sharing one’s limitations with another we complement each other, in turn creating diversity, which breeds and supports more life. In other words, limitations are both restrictive and creative. Nature, operating within restraints, creates limitless varieties – from thresholds comes creativity, from restrictions comes diversity.

Doczi notes, ‘When we share our own limitations with the limitations of others, as we do in the golden relations of neighbours, we complement our own and others’ shortcomings, creating thereby living harmony in the art of life, comparable to the harmonies created in music, dance, marble, wood and clay. It is possible to live in this way because the proportions of reciprocal sharing, nature’s own golden proportions, are built into our own nature, into our bodies and minds which are, after all, part of nature.’

And so we can understand that the creation of beauty is through the dynamic communion of reciprocal influences powered by limits.IMG_0279

Just as ‘dia’ means across or through boundaries, it is the relationship across these tensions that makes for our reality. There is no binary either/or, rather there is only the challenge/opportunity to find the right harmonic within, across, in-between, through the tension. In certain life situations a little more yang than yin may be useful, in others a little more yin than yang. It is only when one side of the reciprocal relationship begins to undermine the reciprocity in trying to maintain dominance over the other that the dinergic relationship becomes dis-harmonious.

In our desire to dominate Nature (including our own human nature) we have created monocultures. The environmentalist Vandana Shiva points to a ‘monoculture of the mind’ that poisons our culture, which in turn destroys our natural environment. Monoculture and monopoly equals control. In seeking to homogenise Nature for commercialisation, we set about dissecting the inherent grammar within life and so creating dis-harmony rather than harmony.

HRH The Prince of Wales notes,‘Nature displays a tendency towards variety and away from uniformity and yet we seem to be heading in the opposite direction.’

Leonardo

Biodiversity and cultural diversity have shaped one another over the millennia, as we curtail diversity through elitist competition and control we undermine our culture’s resilience. Life ought to be about celebrating diversity: creativity powered by limits is the wisdom of Nature. Nature’s inspiring fecundity is to be attuned with not dominated and enslaved.

As Seneca noted many centuries ago, ‘True wisdom consists in not departing from Nature and in moulding our conduct according to Her laws and model.’

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